It is tempting to imagine that Kieran Hebden has been away on holiday somewhere sunny, returning with a balmy new album that can take us far away from the January blues.
Such is the outright bliss found in parts of the warm-hearted There Is Love In You that it also suggests he was in a happy place when he wrote it.
For this is a far cry from Hebden’s more recent experimental work with Steve Reid. This time he prefers a return to basics with the drum tracks, and constructs intricate and beautifully woven loops atop them.
In this respect the spectre of Steve Reich hovers into view, with tracks such as Pablo’s Heart the giveaway. This particularly warm blooded example works extremely well with its busy lines and floaty voices, both hallmarks of the man Hebden has remixed in the past.
The textures shimmer like sand in the hot weather, while Hebden goes to work chopping up small loops into neat, digestible particles in Sing, or lets them float airily in the beautifully lightweight Reversing. Childrens’ voices bisect Plastic People and She Just Likes To Fight, hinting at a more domestic form of contentment, realised in the bliss of the latter’s guitar line.
This is effectively Hebden’s Balearic album, and while it may not please everyone with its relatively conventional outlook and lack of experimental tendencies, few will be able to deny it as a thing of beauty. Even the most curmudgeonly critic will find it hard not to raise a smile or breathe a contented sigh, for this is a true antidote to January living as we know it.